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Suffolk School Notebook: Long Island students engage in summer learning

Central Islip students, with teacher Yvette Elliard-Liburd, left,

Central Islip students, with teacher Yvette Elliard-Liburd, left, hold educational books about camping and wildlife during a "backyard camp out" event that served as a culmination of the district's summer enrichment program. Credit: Central Islip School District

Many Long Island schools didn’t wait for the first day of classes to start teaching.

Dozens of districts kept children and teens engaged throughout the summer months by hosting everything from art academies to sports workshops and vocational programs.

In Northport, the high school hosted GET SMArT — which stands for "Get Engineering, Technology, Summer Music, Arts and Theatre" — a program that allowed more than 370 students the chance to explore various passions over the course of four weeks. Activities ranged from robotics to woodworking and video game design.

"The overarching goal is to reignite that spark and show students this is a place where they can be together, where they can think, they can learn, they can problem-solve constructively, and they can have fun while they’re doing it," said program coordinator Michael Sussino.

In Central Islip, nearly 300 students attended a monthlong enrichment program that featured an array of literacy and math-based activities at Francis J. O’Neill Elementary School. It culminated in a "backyard camp out" that included everything from arts and crafts to poetry.

In Copiague, kids tackled such tasks as creating sundials, learning the life cycle of spiders, and designing small boats and testing whether they would sink or float during an elementary summer school program.

In Port Jefferson, the district hosted a summer music camp that included beginner and intermediate band and string classes at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.

"The joy in exploring their talents and expanding their confidence as they master playing their instrument is a great boost to their self-esteem and a positive outlet for creativity," said the district’s music and fine arts director, Michael Caravello.


New principal

Marissa Mangogna is the new principal of Center Moriches High School. She replaced Ed Casswell, who retired.

Mangogna previously worked for eight years as a math teacher at the school.

"Here at Center Moriches I am fortunate enough to work with an amazing team of administrators, colleagues, teachers and staff along with the supportive community and enthusiastic students," Mangogna said. "I am looking forward to taking what we have learned living through this pandemic and using it to provide our students with an even better educational environment moving forward."


New principal

Robert Dennis has been appointed principal of Northport High School. He replaced Daniel Danbusky, who is now principal of Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School.

Dennis, an alum of Northport High School, most recently served four years as principal of North Shore Middle School in Glen Head. Before that, he was an assistant principal and a chairman of world languages and ESL positions in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District.

"I can’t wait to get started and meet the students, staff and families that make Northport High School a home-away-from-home for so many," Dennis said.


Scholarship winners

Fourteen graduating seniors from Long Island were among more than 1,000 additional winners nationwide this summer of college-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

Scholarship winners and their high schools were: Kevin Chen, Commack; Shruti Patel, East Meadow; Jonathan Hakimi, Great Neck North; Samantha Moy, Herricks; Isabella Roccanova, Holy Trinity; Stamatia Papazis, John F. Kennedy; Eric Wang, Manhasset; Khushi Shah, New Hyde Park; Kyle Mathew, Newfield; Ishaan Jhawar, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Dylan Houck, St. John the Baptist; Alex Ji and Aayush Turakhia, Syosset; and Amanda Ditaranto, West Islip.


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